Video baby monitors are overrated, they say. You keep your eyes glued to the screen and coo over baby’s every single movement that it becomes addictive. No, we are not exaggerating and many parents can actually relate to this (specially the first-time parents). For this reason, you become unproductive.
What’s worse than being unproductive is that you can’t get some shut-eye because you feel the constant need to just stare at those monitors. So what do you need to do? Get yourself a trusty audio baby monitor instead – something that will keep an eye on your baby while you sleep or do the things you need done.
We picked a handful of the most talked about best audio baby monitors and put them to test. We tested for clarity, range, and more. After a series of tests, we found 7 that surpassed our expectations and gave us so much more.
In this review, you will find the best of the best, best bang for buck, bill buster, and more, or maybe whatever it is that you need in your life right now.
You can take a quick look at our table contents if you have anything specific in mind. Better yet, let’s get started with the review.
Table of Contents
- 1 Things To Keep In Mind
- 2 #1 VTech DM221: Best Overall
- 3 #2 Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10: Long Range Master
- 4 #3 Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10: Best Value For Money
- 5 #4 VTech DM111: Budget Pick
- 6 #5 Summer Infant Babble Band Wearable Audio Monitor: Best For Multitaskers
- 7 #6 Motorola MBP160: Bill Buster
- 8 #7 Beaba Minicall Digital Audio Baby Monitor: Small But Terrible
- 9 Bottomline
Things To Keep In Mind
There are tons of audio baby monitors that picking one is already overwhelming. We don’t want to add this burden on your shoulders as we know that parenting is already tough. For this, we gathered the best in the market today.
As this is an audio baby monitor review, we arranged our list based on the test we made on the clarity of the sound. In addition to that, we took a survey and asked parents (even grandparents) for their recommendations. Thus, we came up with this list.
Furthermore, here are some factors you need to think about if you want to pick the audio baby monitor yourself.
- Sound quality – Is the sound clear? Do you want continuous sound or silent function? Are you okay with static or white noise? Or do you only need to hear the important noise – which is baby’s crying? Does it have sensitive microphone?
- Alerts – Can you count on illuminating lights when you need to turn the volume down or when on silent mode? Does it have vibrate mode for those who move a lot?
- Safety – Can the wires be kept in place? Will the baby be strangled by the wires?
- Additional features – Can it check vital stats? Does it have temperature sensor? Is it portable? Can you talk to your baby through the monitor?
This is just the tip of the iceberg as there are other things that you need to decide on. There is deciding between digital versus analog, signal range, hacking and security issues, and more. Again, we don’t want to drown you with all those things on top of being a hardworking parent so let this list guide you instead.
#1 VTech DM221: Best Overall
Forgive us for the term but scatterbrained parents/users will want to have this outstanding beast of an audio-only baby monitor. It has a belt clip so you can keep it with you at all times. If you can’t avoid losing it, you can simply use the page button to know its location.
For its ridiculously low price, it comes with a plethora of features. First off, it is the loudest in this bunch. It still wakes sleepyhead parents despite turning the volume down a notch or two. However, it can be silent when you need it to be.
Additionally, it has an LCD display, night light, out of range and low battery notification, vibrate mode, sleep mode, mute, and sound level meter. It has a talk-back function too which is important for soothing crying babies.
It comes with rechargeable batteries. We suggest though that you plug it in at night to ensure continuous monitoring of baby all throughout his sleep.
- great sound
- long battery life
- difficult to use
- can’t buy separate parent unit
The number of its glowing reviews speaks volumes to its overall performance and capabilities. For this reason, many are going for this power-packed pocket-friendly sound only baby monitor. If you want impressive overall performance without breaking the bank, the VTech DM221 is an excellent choice.
#2 Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10: Long Range Master
Did you know that you can still chill in your front yard and check on your baby at the same time? Do that with the Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10 which offers a range of over 1000 feet outside the home. Inside the home, sound quality does not suffer despite going through 6 walls which is already an impressive feat for us (considering we have already tested a lot).
It has alarms for out of range and low battery. Furthermore, it has a temperature sensor, night light, lullaby, two-way talk, and mic sensitivity. You can mute it or keep it on vibrate mode. Just use the sound level indicator to keep track of your baby’s cries. Better yet, put it on sleep mode to catch up on your sleep.
Those who are apt to forget will love that it comes with a lanyard, and page to find parent unit function. So say goodbye to scrambling and flipping over couches just to find your parent unit (yes we have done this).
The only thing that we wish to change about this monitor is to put sound activation. This will greatly benefit parents who need some down time to sleep as this means that the parent unit can be quiet when it should be.
- clear sound
- impressive range
- long battery life
- page to find unit
- a bit steep learning curve
- sound activation feature is missing
If you have a large space at home, and if you are okay with spending a little bit more for lounging at your yard, then the Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10 is a good choice.
#3 Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10: Best Value For Money
It is very inexpensive but this translates to fewer features. This is not a deal breaker for many parents though if they only want the basics.
You cannot complain about this plain Jane’s audio as it is loud yet crisp. The sound is clear and it even goes through 5 walls without sounding like a robot.
Features include out of range and low battery alarms, night light, mute and sleep modes, and sound level indicator. It also has sound activation which means that the parent unit is silent when baby is.
Run time is 15 hours or so which is quite good but is less than the others. Again, we can’t or should not complain about this because of its price.
One thing you need to know is that its sound filtering is not the best in the market. In our tests, we can still hear background noises such as the fan in the baby’s room in its highest setting.
- clear sound
- user friendly
- just the basic features
- range compared to others
- no two-way talk
If you are looking for something that offers the basics, and if you want an affordable option, you can never go wrong with the Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10. Apart from being a primary no-nonsense monitor at home, it also makes as a great travel monitor that you just can carry with you on your quick trips.
#4 VTech DM111: Budget Pick
For its absolutely low low price, the sound quality is not distorted. In fact, it has a better than average sound. Plus, its range is decent and even works up to 7 walls which is an awesome feat considering the price. Distortion is little to none as it uses DECT technology.
Its features are mute sleep mode, out of range and low battery indicators, belt clip, and sound level indicators.
You will need to use AAA batteries though. This means that you will constantly need to replenish your stocks with those to ensure continuous connection. Even so, run time is only 13 hours which is less compared to others but is already enough for nighttime provided that you have fresh set of batteries.
What we love about this the most is that it is straightforward. You can teach grandma and grandpa how to use this with little to no frustrations because you only have power off and volume buttons.
- easy to use
- decent range
- few features
- short battery life
- no two-way talk
- no sound activation
If you are looking for a travel monitor, or if you are on a tight budget, the VTech DM111 is a sound option. It is very inexpensive that every family can afford to get a good night’s sleep because of this. It also goes to show that you don’t need to splurge just to get something nice.
#5 Summer Infant Babble Band Wearable Audio Monitor: Best For Multitaskers
The parent unit is a rubberized watch band that looks pretty much like a fitness band but better (because it helps you look after your precious little one). Since it is wearable, you don’t need to remember where you last put it.
It has 3 modes – audio and lights, lights only, and vibration and lights only. The latter two modes do not have audio. Hearing-impaired users are particularly happy about these modes as they can quickly attend to the babies because of them.
It is voice activated which means that you can avoid white noise that other monitors have. It is sensitive enough that it picks up movements such as wriggling under the sheets which we like.
It also alerts you if you are out of range or if unit is running low on batteries. But if you need to take that much needed sleep, you can always set it to vibrate mode.
Its range is 820 feet which is not bad. Plus, it is affordable,stylish, and easy to clean. You will need to be patient though as it takes 5 hours to charge. You also need to go to the baby unit as this is where you will be charging it.
- simple to use
- good range
- keeps your hands free
- must go to the baby unit to charge the band
- not waterproof
- short battery life
- interference when near baby unit
If you are constantly on the move, if you are extremely forgetful and focused on the things that needs to be done that no one else can do, and if you want an eye-candy for a baby monitor, the Summer Infant Babble Band is the perfect fit for you.
We recommend that you use this on daytime naps though.
#6 Motorola MBP160: Bill Buster
What person does not want to save on electric bills? No one. Thus, the Motorola MBP160 is one that you will love as it has an eco-mode. This ensures that you are using as little energy as possible.
Sound quality is decent but not as impressive as the others in this list. We suggest that you use the monitor at a lower volume as the sounds are clearer and better that way. Range is not bad either as signal goes through 4 walls or 300-meter range.
It has volume control, sound level indicator, sleep mode, and mute. There are also alarms in place to inform you in case you are out of range or if the battery is low. It is also sleek and sophisticated looking unlike the boring baby monitors that we have seen.
Instead of a belt clip, parent unit has a kickstand. This is somewhat unusual but parents who are sitting on a desk while monitoring baby found this useful.
Battery for parent unit is rechargeable and lasts for as long as 20 hours. Baby unit is powered by cord though.
Despite its few features, it is awesome in something that we think is important – sound filtering. This means that the receiver or parent unit is silent unless baby is making noises. This is a great feature for sleep-deprived parents.
- easy to use
- sound filtering
- few features
- average sound
- battery life is not as long as the others
- no two way talk
- no temperature sensor
If you want a plug and play audio baby monitor, if you are a light sleeper looking for something simple, if your baby’s bedroom is just next to your bedroom, and if you want to save on electric bills, the Motorola MBP160 is definitely a no-brainer choice.
#7 Beaba Minicall Digital Audio Baby Monitor: Small But Terrible
This small but terrible audio baby monitor is something to watch out for. You don’t need to scream in terror when your kids throw it or if you accidentally drop it in your tub. It is shock resistant and water resistant which is extremely helpful for parents because that is just how parenting is – you’ll never know what happens in the middle of the day.
It has a 300 meter range so you can bring it with you to the bathroom to take a bath while baby is napping. It is oh-so-cute and small that you can take it with you to Grandma’s or just put it inside your pocket.
If your significant other wants to sleep, you can turn it on silent mode. The LED light will light up to signal you that baby is crying.
If the monitor runs out of battery, simply charge it via USB. What wows us the most is that it is silicone-wrapped, BPA, lead, and phthalate free. Awesome and unique too.
- water and shock resistant
- lightweight and small
- charges with micro SD
- clear sound
- looks cute
- BPA and lead free
- only one micro SD charger cord
- light might be too bright for some
If you are looking for something that is virtually indestructible, if you are looking for something cute and handy, the Beaba Minicall Digital Audio baby monitor is a good buy.
Here is the review in a nutshell.
Those who want the best of the best (well, who doesn’t?) should go for the VTech DM221. You don’t have to wonder why this audio baby monitor tops this list. It does not only deliver but it also gives you more than what you want.
Its thousands of glowing reviews speak for itself. It may be budget-friendly but it is packed with a lot of features that will help you sleep soundly at night.
If you need your “me” time and spend some time by the pool while baby is napping upstairs, you will want to buy the Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10. It is dubbed as the long range master in this list as it is true to its promise of their claimed distance. Don’t believe us? You can test it out to find out.
If you want the no-frills, affordable audio baby monitor, the Philips Avent DECT SCD501/10 is a great choice. It has the basics that can be used as a primary monitor or a travel monitor for your quick trips over at Nana’s.
The VTech DM111 is your best bet if you are on an extremely tight budget but still want to monitor your little one. Despite the ridiculously low price, it does what it needs to do – alert you of baby’s crying.
The Summer Infant Babble Band is the best for those who are always on-the-go. Wear your monitor on your wrist and forget about it. Just let it do its job while you do yours. This is perfect for the scatterbrained parents who also want a great eye-candy on their wrist.
Those who want a simple, plug and play audio baby monitor will find that the Motorola MBP160 is good in what it does. It fits light sleepers who also want to save on their electric bills. What more can you ask for?
Families with naturally naughty kids and clumsy parents will want the tiny but virtually indestructible Beaba Minicall Digital audio baby monitor. It is shock and water resistant plus it is BPA, lead, and phthalate free.
Now it is up to you to make the sound decision. What will your choice be? Let us know in the comments section.